EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — NFL player Damar Hamlin is showing signs of improvement after suffering cardiac arrest during this week’s Monday Night Football game.

Hamlin’s team, the Buffalo Bills, released a statement saying he is expected to remain under intensive care while being monitored and treated. The signs of improvement, although non-specific, continued overnight.

A local cardiologist is weighing in about the injury and what athletes, their coaches, and their families need to know to prevent a possible tragedy.

It was one of many tackles 24-year-old, Buffalo Bills Safety, Damar Hamlin has made in his football career. So why did this one end with him suffering cardiac arrest after taking a hard hit to the chest?

“It is bad luck that it happened at a particular time of the cardiac cycle and he had an arrest,” stated Pramod Deshmukh, M.D., a cardiologist at Guthrie Hospital.

Guthrie Cardiologist Dr. Pramod Deshmukh held a virtual news conference on Wednesday to discuss sudden cardiac arrest. What Hamlin suffered after that hit to the chest is called ‘Commotio Cordis’ which likely set off what doctors call Ventricular Fibrillation, or V-Fib, a dangerous abnormal heart rhythm.

“Ventricular fibrillation is where this is a main (heart) pump where the heart is not able to pump any blood and that results in death unless the ventricular fibrillation is corrected rapidly,” explained Dr. Deshmukh.

Hamlin’s heartbeat was restored through CPR and an AED, and he was then put into a medically induced coma.

When asked about the purpose of that sedation even though his heart is back, Deshmukh replied “The main reason this is done is to protect the brain. When you have CPR as he had for ten minutes or so, the blood supply to the brain is limited and you don’t want the brain to suffer.”

“Any athlete that plays football, there’s always a risk. It’s a contact sport. Naturally, my heart went out to the family and to him and pray that he is okay,” said Robert Booth III, the father of a high school football player.

Robert Booth’s son is Dallas High School Freshman Running Back and Linebacker Robert Booth IV. He says what happened to Hamlin won’t deter him from supporting his own son’s football career but says it underscores the importance of trained coaches and staff.

“Your son’s health is in their best interest, let alone the game,” stated Booth III.

Dr. Deshmukh says roughly 150 to 200 athletes suffer cardiac arrest on the playing field, court, or ice. It’s one of the reasons why coaches and families need to know CPR.

Head to the Red Cross’s website to learn more about taking a CPR class.